About the Sociology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno

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Mission Statement:

The Department of Sociology is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the best tradition of a liberal arts education. The Department prides itself in providing a quality education to its majors, minors, and graduate students. It is also committed to serving the larger university community by participation in such programs as the Core Curriculum. Consistent with this mission are the following objectives:

1. Development of critical/analytical thinking: The sociological perspective is inherently critical. It demands of its practitioners that they analyze a complex set of specially relevant issues that are central to an understanding of society and social structures.

2. Rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative research methods: This aims at giving our graduates a sound methodological grounding in conducting various types of sociological research. Students are expected to acquire quantitative and interpretative research skills to learn how to select and apply research methods that are suitable for a particular problem of interest.

3. Professional socialization into such values as social responsibility and service to the community: This seeks to develop in students a sense of social responsibility to the community. The vision of sociology is firmly embedded in a value system based on the principles of social justice and human well-being.

4. Creation of a critical awareness of diversity issues: The Department has been a leader in articulating diversity issues and in framing curricular offerings that allow for a critical understanding of cultural and social diversity.

5. Enhancement of written and verbal communication skills: Through participation in the Core Curriculum, the Department is able to improve communication skills of its majors.


What Can I Do With a Degree in Sociology?

Most people who think of themselves as "sociologists" or have the word "sociologist" in their job title, have graduate training, but BAs in sociology apply the sociological perspective to a wide variety of jobs in such sectors as the health professions, the criminal justice system, social services, and government.

"What can I do with a BA in sociology?"

As a strong liberal arts major, sociology provides several answers to this important question:

* A BA in sociology is excellent preparation for future graduate work in sociology in order to become a professor, researcher, or applied sociologist.

* The undergraduate degree provides a strong liberal arts preparation for entry level positions throughout the business, social service, and government worlds. Employers look for people with the skills that an undergraduate education in sociology provides.

* Since its subject matter is intrinsically fascinating, sociology offers valuable preparation for careers in journalism, politics, public relations, business, or public administration--fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups.

* Many students choose sociology because they see it as a broad liberal arts base for professions such as law, education, medicine, social work, and counseling. Sociology provides a rich fund of knowledge that directly pertains to each of these fields.

"What can I do with an MA or PhD degree in sociology?"

With advanced degrees, the more likely it is that a job will have the title sociologist, but many opportunities exist--the diversity of sociological careers ranges much further than what you might find under "S" in the Sunday newspaper employment ads. Many jobs outside of academia do not necessarily carry the specific title of sociologist:

* Sociologists become high school teachers or faculty in colleges and universities, advising students, conducting research, and publishing their work. Over 3000 colleges offer sociology courses.

* Sociologists enter the corporate, non-profit, and government worlds as directors of research, policy analysts, consultants, human resource managers, and program managers.

* Practicing sociologists with advanced degrees may be called research analysts, survey researchers, gerontologists, statisticians, urban planners, community developers, criminologists, or demographers.

* Some sociologists with an M.A. or Ph.D. degree obtain specialized training to become counselors, therapists, or program directors in social service agencies.

Today, sociologists embark upon literally hundreds of career paths. Although teaching and conducting research remains the dominant activity among the thousands of professional sociologists today, other forms of employment are growing both in number and significance. In some sectors, sociologists work closely with economists, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, social workers, and others, reflecting a growing appreciation of sociology's contributions to interdisciplinary work.


Department of Sociology/MailStop 300, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV 89557
ph: 775-784-6647 email: sociology@unr.edu